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The Voice of Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre & St Fillans

Merry Christmas Happy New Year!

Editor’s Bit Lots of festive fun is promised over the next few weeks for all the villages. Perhaps we should have organised a challenge to see who could attend most dances, concerts and Carol Concerts on offer. We look forward to lots of photos in the New Year edition to cheer us all up in February! I must remind you of the AGM on the19th of February at 7.30 - in the Inn in Strathyre, this time. We had a production meeting recently to plan for this and we have several new ideas to discuss with as many of you who can attend as possible. Please put the date in your new diaries (for any other Luddites like myself out there who still use real paper ones)! It will probably not come as a surprise that we need new volunteers if The Villagers is to continue in its present form so please consider helping out - in any area: editing, production or distributing it only needs to be on an occasional basis. More on this next year! I hope you all have a great festive season and my best wishes go particularly to all who contribute in so many ways: writing, advertising, producing, selling - and most of all, buying and reading it. Long may it continue. Let us hope 2014 is a memorable year for all the best reasons. Jill

December 31st 2013

The Session

will be playing in Lochearnhead Village Hall this Hogmanay Tickets £10.00 (including Stovies) Licensed Bar (9.00-2.00) Prize raffle Tickets available from local shops Or telephone 01567 830458 Help us raise funds to maintain our Village Hall!


The following readings were taken at ‘Bramblings’, Auchtubh, Balquhidder for the month of OCTOBER 2013.

Average max temp Actual max temp Average min temp Actual min temp

12.0 ºC 14.2 7.9 1.7

54.8 ºF 57.0 46.2 28.9

Rainfall 23cms 9.4ins Strongest wind gust 65mph on 9 Oct



Balquhidder Village Hall 1st January 2014 9pm-1am with the

Stuart McKeown Ceilidh Band Tickets £10

(including Tea/Coffee and Sandwiches)

available at door or in advance from John McNaughton 01877 384232 B YO B

The Show Must Go On...

Front Cover: Snowy Loch Voil by Richard Harris


New Year’s Day

Lisa Dryburgh married Joel Hopwood on the 27th September 2013 in Aberdeen at Kings College, University of Aberdeen. Lisa is the daughter of Jim and Mairi Dryburgh and the grand daughter of Cathie Kennedy and the late Gregor Kennedy of Lochearnhead, where Lisa enjoyed many of her school holidays.


to Fred and Catherine Menzies from Strathyre on their

Diamond Wedding Anniversary on the 2nd of December.

The BLS Horticultural Society’s AGM took place on the 6th November at Balquhidder Hall. I expressed concern over the dwindling numbers of participants and although we had a reasonable ‘wee’ show it is still the same few folk who put in most entries. I have been on the committee for just over twenty years and sadly I tendered my resignation as President. I just think enough is enough. Other committee members who also resigned were: Susan Crammon (secretary), Georgina Wagstaff, Jimmy McSkimming and lastly Hilda Astbury who incidentally had been on the committee for 23 years. I am particularly grateful to her. I also thank the rest of the committee for all their help. This has left just one committee member, the treasurer, Roseanne McWilliams. Fortunately two folk have volunteered to join, Hattie Harvey and Janet Richards. Janet kindly agreed to stand as President and was duly elected. I sincerely hope the community will support her and that several more folk will come on the committee. Janet will be writing a follow-up article seeking new members. I wish her every success and sincerely hope the show will continue for many years to come. Pauline Perkins Ex-President

13 BER 20 O T C O 4 28TH FROM OF 201 D G E N S I R O CL EN SP RE OP

The St Fillans Bit

by John Murray

Last month I recorded the passing of Russell’s mother Jean Cunningham, sadly this month I record the death of her husband Les (Leslie). Les was diagnosed with a terminal illness shortly after the death of his wife and passed away peacefully on 29th October 2013. Les was born in 1922 in a tenement in Queens Park Glasgow. His recollections of early life with gas lights and a crystal set on which he might, if lucky, get the BBC on his headphones seems pretty far from our lives of satellite TV, electronic gizmos and iPad. But, as Les recalled, they had their own bathroom, where most shared a bathroom – luxury indeed. In 1930 the family moved to a rented (most folk rented then) with electricity – an inexplicable wonder for a young boy then. At school Les learned to play cricket and developed a love for the game which endured till the end. After school he became a trainee chemist, then remembers Chamberlain’s radio broadcast announcing the declaration of war with Germany. In 1941 he volunteered for high altitude with state of the art planes the RAF and trained as Aircrew and as and bombs which guide themselves to a navigator. An amusing memory is of the target. Les had to go in ’low and his training in South Africa in primitive slow’, surrounded by flack, watching his aircraft without radios – they had homing comrades being shot from the skies and pigeons on board in case of accident waiting for his turn to be hit. He recalled and the procedure was to tie a note to men being literally frozen with fear. A the bird’s leg and hope for the best! Les brave man. remembered one day they let a pigeon Les went back to civvy street in 1946 out of the plane in flight and the creature with a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), beat them back to base. met wife Jean at a tennis club and married Les was one of a rapidly decreasing her in 1948. He joined Fry’s Metals number of folk who fought in WW2, in 1947 and worked with them until and most people under the age of 50 retirement in 1986. They raised the Clan don’t know much at all about the horrible Cunningham (as noted last month) who conflict. Les served in Bomber Command are many. He & Jean moved to St Fillans and he, with countless other brave young in 2008 as Jean’s health was failing and men set out nightly in lumbering planes they wanted to be closer to Russell & Liz. loaded with bombs in the knowledge Les was a fascinating character – I have that their chances of coming home were his self-penned biography just now and it not good. Wars today are fought in far is a lovely read. off places and watched on TV just like Russell & Liz have asked me to thank, a football match – bombing is from on their behalf, the numerous folk who

Les and Jean

sent cards and were supportive in what has been a very difficult 2 months for them. Back to the present generation. Not all youngsters spend their lives on play stations whilst mumbling monosyllabic grunts! Thanks to Cathy Moncrieff for alerting me to Lorna McLarty’s latest adventure. Lorna, daughter of Ian & Moira, is 17 years old and is recently back from a 10 day trip to Hong Kong to compete in the Wilson Trail Relay Race organised by the Hong Kong Scottish Education Connection. She was part of a ten-strong Scottish team of youngsters, all of whom had to raise the funds themselves for the trip via a multitude of fund raisers and being very nice to Mom & Dad for a few months. This is the third year that P&K schools have entered a team and Lorna’s team was the youngest Continued overleaf


The St Fillans Bit (Continued from Page 3)

Hunt, Shoot, Fish; Frank shows off the many wares at the Crieff shop

amongst a field of all age groups. The actual race covered 70 km which is about 44 miles in old money. Lorna’s leg of the race was 19 miles! As you see from the picture of her (above) it was off road with some serious hills so her months of training in Perthshire Races yielded dividends. But the bottom line is that a great adventure for the team also raised some £2500 for their chosen charity Young Carers in Perth. Impressive stuff and a lovely girl to talk to. I mentioned last month the temporary loan defibrillator now in the village and Don has updated me that the British Heart Foundation have at last approved a grant for the village to have its permanent defibrillator - to which The Community trust are adding £500 to complete the deal. Many thanks to Don for digging in; it has been a long and frustrating haul, but he got there. Most of us remember the frustrating years when The Village Shop was closed more than it was open and then finally closed for good. The hassle of having to go to Comrie for papers, bread, milk and everything else was not a good time, but thankfully was over when Frank & Liam (& Clare) took over the shop and resurrected it. It can’t be easy making money from a small store but the boys have developed the coffee shop and regular local clients, plus the much needed passing trade in summer. But the shop could never be enough to keep both of the guys occupied so they sought a bit of diversity and purchased a building in Commissioner Street in Crieff on which much time and effort has been expended to open a centre devoted to the needs of the hunting, shooting and fishing community. With amazing ingenuity they have named the 4

place Hunt Shoot Fish. I went off to see the venture, expecting a poky wee shop with a fishing rod and some maggots, and was astonished at what I found. There is a tiny front shop but going through that you enter a large brightly lit showroom with an extensive amount of gear. One of Frank’s early jobs was at a Clay Pigeon Club and there he developed a love of shooting. As family life took over his interest fell by the wayside, but was soon rekindled as he dabbled in small bore and air rifle shooting. When the need to diversify arose they decided to go down the line which would probably never make them fortunes but would be enjoyable to do – hence the new shop. Liam will run the St Fillans Store while Frank runs the Crieff Shop. I’ve had an airgun most of my life – the old BSA spring action thing – but the air rifles Frank has in stock are incredible devices. Forget the spring, these things work off compressed air cylinders (PCP = pre charged pneumatic) and are awesome. He stocks stalking rifles and shotguns and, of course all of the ammunition you need. Plus fishing gear, field clothing and is adding archery supplies to the inventory. As well as sales the shop offers a repair and servicing service and even has a 10 metre indoor shooting range for either practice or calibration of weapons. I was fascinated by the new Air Soft guns – these are taking over from the paint ball devices so popular for corporate days out and are ferocious looking weapons which fire soft plastic pellets which won’t injure the person hit but give them a nice wee sting so that they know they’ve been hit (goggles essential obviously). I gather that there are several Air Soft centres now operating in Perthshire. The shop has top level security installed, for obvious reasons, and is open 9.30 to 5.00 daily except Sundays & Wednesday afternoon. I found Frank a mine of knowledge on guns and regulations and the new shop is well worth a visit, even if only for a blether with Frank. For any field sport requirements give him a ring on 01764 656639 or go see him.

Lauren raises money for Children in Need. Well done!

In the meantime Frank’s daughter Lauren is still fund raising. For Children in Need she organised a Cake Day – homemade goodies sold to a good turnout of villagers. Assisted by her little helpers Annie (younger sister) and Liam and mother Clare she raised close to £200 for the Charity. Excellent stuff. A wee reminder from Mary at The Four Seasons. In December they are open weekends only (except the weekend of the 12th which is staff Christmas Shopping Day when Andrew removes the six padlocks on his sporran to treat them all). A few tables are still available for Christmas Lunch and Hogmanay Dinner bookable at £49.50 a head. They are then closed from 2nd January and limited reopening on the 28th February. Finally, a bit of an anti-climax at The Drummond. Arran Brewers took over on 30th October and one of their employees told us that the bars would be open for Christmas (which was contrary to the Spring 2014 date previously indicated). Since then there have been no real signs of anything happening apart from one brave soul on the roof. I did try to get input from Arran for this page but input was there none. Maybe they will read this and want some free PR. Last issue before Christmas. A good Christmas & New Year to both of my regular readers. Come back next year!


Strathyre News

As this will be the last edition before the Christmas and New Year break (where did that year go?) I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Also - thanks for the chance to write various articles over the year at the bequest of the people of Strathyre - and to everyone for all the help I have been given. Finally to my colleagues at The Villagers who work so hard to produce this wonderful paper each month! I enjoy being the correspondent for The Village immensely and will continue to do so for as long as The Villagers, and the people of Strathyre, will put up with me, and I look for your continued support in 2014. Jan and I will be down south for Christmas (weather permitting) but will be back to celebrate New Year at the party in the Village Hall. See you there. Wishing you all the best from Jan and myself! Wullie D

Jean Watt (Dunellan)

Jan and I were returning from a visit to Culloden when we called into a local cafe in Drumnadrochit for breakfast and enquired as to how Jean Watt was as we knew she had moved there to be nearer her son who is the local minister. We were very saddened to hear that she had recently passed away and her funeral service had just been the week before in Glasgow Jean was a well known and very popular figure in Strathyre and had lived in Dunellan House for some thirty years and more.Jan and I had the pleasure of being included in her large circle of friends and we can only say it was an honour to know her. She worked tirelessly to raise money for her favourite charity Cystic Fibrosis and raised many THOUSANDS of pounds through her very popular coffee mornings. I hope Jean enjoyed her last days in “The Drum” as much as I know she loved her time in “Bonnie Strathyre”. RIP Jean,you were one in a million. Jan and Wullie D

Emma displays her onesie for CIN

Children in Need

When we had our usual darts evening in the Inn on Thursday 14th November it was decided that we would use the event to raise money for the “Children in Need” appeal. So without further ado “OOR EMMA” was put in the frame to arrive in her “birthday suit”!!!! And before anyone gets excited the suit in question was her ‘onesie’ (I think that’s what you call them) given to her as a birthday present on the previous Sunday. The challenge that was put to her would be that she would play a game of darts with everyone in the pub who wished to do so. Now that may not seem such a challenge, but if you are a darts player you will know how just how much energy and stress can be involved in one competive game far less the FIFTEEN games that Emma played, so well done to her and a huge thank you to all who took part and contributed to the £77 that was raised on the night. WD

The Christmas Carol service will be held on Thursday the 19th Dec starting at 7pm around the Christmas tree (weather permitting). Singing will be accompanied by Callander Brass band and led by Ian Milligan. Hope to see you there! Jan Dalziel

Once again the Strathyre Golfers Association had their annual trip to Dornoch, playing Royal Dornoch, The Struie, Tain and Brora. The weather was great - great golf, great company! The overall winner was Steve Whitman (from Brookmans Park GC); the photo shows all the winners and Joe La piazza presenting Steve with his prize. On behalf of all the lads thanks Joe for organising a fabulous trip! Ron Milne

Strathyre Village Shop

Christmas opening hours 22nd: 8-3 23rd: 7-4 24th: 7-2 25th: closed 26th: 10-1 27th: 8-4 28th: 8-4 29th: 8-3 30th: 8-4 31st: 8-2 1st: Closed 2nd: 10-1 The Richards family would like to thank customers for their continued support. We wish all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Loch Lubnaig Opens – At Last On Friday 22nd November, a rather cold but very sunny morning, Bruce Crawford (MSP for Stirling) performed the official opening of the revamped Loch Lubnaig sites. This was the completion of the first phase of the 5 Lochs Visitor Management Plan, which certainly improves the area in a number of ways. As someone said to me recently, “it will be great when this is open - and not look like a war zone on a bad day.” This is perhaps something of an over statement, but certainly what we now have is a modern facility which locals and visitors alike can enjoy. In fact it was very pleasing to see on Saturday morning that already some of the smaller ‘Haggis’ coaches are using the facilities. On chatting to some


of the visitors from overseas, you could see that they were over the moon to see such a beautiful location - great for having a quick break and the taking of photographs. ‘The Cabin’ at Lubnaig has been taken over by the local landowner. He’s aiming to supply venison burgers and the like from his own land. Sounds good to me. At long last we can see the benefits starting to appear. As things progress and further sites are developed we’ll hopefully see the fruits of our labours,

enabling families to return and enjoy this magnificent area without having to run the gauntlet of some of the anti-social behaviour that we’ve all endured during recent times. Alistair Barclay BLS Community Councillor

BOOK CORNER This month’s book is The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr and is included as a suggestion for any parents or grandJUDITH KERR parents still looking for the ideal stocking filler! It was a great favourite of my dyslexic youngest son, first of all when it was read to him and then the one he always wanted to read himself. It has recently travelled to the other side of the world and proved a big hit there too, being the first book a lively two year old actually concentrated on from start to finish. The deceptively simple story line draws children in and the illustrations are a delight for readers of all ages. I was actually reminded of the book while watching a BBC programme about Judith Kerr who had to leave Berlin in the 1930’s to escape Hitler, and only realised then that she did all the drawings originally. It was written in 1968 and certainly seems to have stood the test of time.

Callander & West Perthshire Within the variety of our U3A courses there is the opportunity for group outings of particular interest and here our Chairperson describes a recent visit to the Capital. Holyrood Visit On a beautiful late autumn morning, thirteen members drawn from both Current Affairs groups made their way to Edinburgh to visit the Scottish Parliament. The Royal Mile had never looked more appealing with a bright blue sky above and wind-blown leaves scuttling along in front of us. Arriving at the Visitors’ entrance, the up-graded security area was reminiscent of any major air terminal! However, we were informed that the building was one of the safest in the country. One of the main reasons for our visit was to be present at First Minister’s

Real Ale - Real Music


Questions. This proved to be a lively affair with Alex Salmond never missing an opportunity to extol the virtues of an independent Scotland! The format of FMQs was copied from the Westminster’s Prime Minister’s Questions. In a short session with Bruce Crawford (our local MSP) which followed, the real value of these weekly sessions was questioned. It was felt that the value lay in the opportunity for MSPs to hold the government to account and to present alternative views. There was no denying, however, that what we had witnessed was pure theatre which was primarily aimed at the television cameras and the press gallery! On a tour later we saw where the real work of the parliament took place which was in the myriad of committee rooms scattered throughout the building. Having no second chamber, the Scottish parliament is very dependent on the work of the committees whose political makeup reflects that of the whole parliament. Scrutiny of proposed legislation is just one of the many functions carried out by them. Not only did we have the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of the parliamentary system but a visit of this nature also gave us the opportunity to get to know one another better outside our usual group setting. Altogether a good day out! BL All our groups will take a break over Christmas and to begin the New Year there will be a Festive Lunch for all members on Tuesday 7 January at the Dreadnought Hotel in Callander. More information about Callander & West Perthshire U3A can always be found on our website. 7

Christmas Thoughts from

St Angus’s...

Is it old age rapidly encroaching that has made this year pass so very quickly! Here we are thinking about Christmas again, and we have only just eaten the last Christmas pudding from last year! Sunday 24 November was the feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday before Advent, when traditionally the church year begins, with four weeks of preparation for Christmas. We read from the Gospel of Luke for that Sunday, and it was salutary to see that Luke’s version of Christ the King is Christ crucified: a vivid reminder to us in times when leadership seems to have been thoroughly corrupted by greed for material gain and hunger for power and popularity. First, that this is nothing new, and second, that there is another pattern – a pattern of self-giving, wider vision, compassion and integrity. It is heart-warming when we do see this in leaders at a local level, in the workplace and in our families, and encouraging knowing that we are not alone as we live out this pattern. I am reminded of the lovely poem that we often use at the service when we bless the Crib on Christmas Eve for all its associations with the reality of the God who became a child to live among us: Light looked down and saw darkness ‘I will go there,’ said Light Peace looked down and saw war ‘I will go there,’ said Peace Love looked down and saw hatred ‘I will go there,’ said Love So he, the Lord of Light, the Prince of Peace, the King of Love, came down and crept in beside us. May you know the Christ child when he creeps in beside you, and may you bring his joy to all those you meet. Below is a list of our Christmas celebrations for this year. All are welcome to any of them: Carols, Mince Pies and Mulled Wine (or fruit punch) Sunday 15 December, 6pm St Angus’s (in Lochearnhead Village Hall) Sunday 22 December, 6.30pm St Serf ’s Comrie (starting in Bumblebee Square if the weather is kind!) Tuesday 24 December, Christmas Eve 6pm: St Angus’, Lochearnhead - Crib service with carols 8pm: St Columba’s - Christmas Eve Carols & Communion WEDNESDAY 25 DECEMBER

Christmas Day Communion

9.45am: St Serf ’s, Comrie 10.30am: St Angus’s, Lochearnhead 11.15am: St Columba’s, Crieff HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BY THE WAY...! ‘THE GATHERING’ CONTINUES AT THE VILLAGE HALL ON THE FIRST SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH, INCLUDING JANUARY AT THE NEW TIME OF 6.30pm... do join us for a top-up of informal contemporary worship, a chance to pray together, to explore our faith and encourage one another – over a cup of tea, and physical food along with the soul food! 8

Church News BalquhiĐĐer Reg. Charity No. SC012316

We were saddened to hear the news that two of our well-loved Church members have passed away. Mrs Morag MacCormack of Lochearnhead and Mrs Jean Watt from Strathyre, both 93 years old, died after fairly short illnesses. Both ladies had moved away from the parish to stay in sheltered housing, but we remember their strong support for the Church here as well as their pleasure in local events such as the whist drives in Balquhidder Hall. Morag’s funeral was in Balquhidder on 7th November and Jean’s was on 15th November in Drumclog, a small village south of Glasgow where she grew up. Jean is remembered especially for her wonderful fund-raising efforts for the Cystic Fibrosis Society. Christian Aid has asked us to respond to their emergency appeal for the people of the Philippines who are suffering the effects of the terrible hurricane there. Christian Aid is one of the 14 charities making up the Disaster Emergency Committee, and donations can be made in banks or through any of these charities. We shall have Gift Aid envelopes in Church for donations which can be as cheques made payable to Christian Aid or as cash. Cash will be collected and sent as a Church cheque, but Gift Aid can still apply if an envelope is used. Looking forward to Advent - there will be a concert in the Church on Saturday, 7th December at 7.30pm. It is becoming a bit of a tradition for our many talented local artists to entertain us in fund-raising concerts for the Church. Charlie Hunter is organising it and, somehow, he always manages to find one or two new-comers to augment our well-known favourites. Tickets will be £6.00 at the door. Let`s hope winter weather does not interfere too much, and we hope for a fun evening of music and, who knows, maybe some Gaelic poetry too! Jean Edwards

A Christmas Message

Have you ever watched young babies trying to walk? They tend to walk on tiptoes as they are carefully supported by a loving parent. Yet before the year is out their feet firmly connect them to the earth. In the Carmina Gadelica I came across this verse: This night is the eve of the great Nativity Born is the Son of Mary the Virgin The soles of his feet have reached the earth, The Son of glory down from on high … What a lovely way to express the coming of Jesus - saying that the soles of his feet have reached the earth. He truly came and dwelt among us. The next verse begins with praise The peace of earth to Him, the joy of heaven to Him, Behold His feet have reached the world … As a youngster he worshipped with his family and the local community - as one of our hymns reminds us O Thou whose infant feet were found. Within Thy Father’s shrine, Whose years with changeless virtue crowned, Were all alike divine. The gospels tell us of his life on earth - the child born to be our Saviour, Redeemer and Friend. Each Christmas we celebrate the coming of the Christ child into the world. As usual on Christmas Eve (8.00 pm in Killin and 11.00 pm in Balquhidder) we gather to sing carols and hear the old story once more. The door is open - come along. The Reverend John Lincoln

A Plea from

Balquhidder Summer Music After the third loss-making season in a row, BSM has to look at every avenue to bring down costs. One of the recurring expenses is the yearly mailing which, in printing and sending, takes up a considerable amount of funds. Please help! If you receive our printed mailing each year, and you have access to email, it would be very much appreciated if you would send your email address to

after which you will receive the same mailing by email instead of by post. Of course, if you are not currently receiving the mailing but would like to become a recipient, you will be very welcome to do the same! Thank you for your co-operation. Wouter van Doorn Balquhidder Summer Music


View from the Park by Owen McKee Relief and a worm glow embraced me as I stood at the formal opening of the new facilities at Loch Lubnaig. Seeing what is now in place convinces me at long last that the National Park, and in particular this area of it, can confidently look to the future. In his opening speech our local MSP, Bruce Crawford, highlighted the fact that in a world competing for business it  is not enough to rely on the emotional and aesthetic pull of the natural beauty that surrounds us in the National Park.    We must ensure that we provide a high quality back up for the  physical needs of the visitor as well. Can I ask you not to just admire the facilities on the way past? Drop in and sample what is on offer at The Cabin and have a wander round and see the facilities that are available for picnicking and camping. It has been a good spell recently. I had a phone call from someone who had often expressed the view that the National Park was a waste of time and money and so I was awaiting another tirade  about the money spent on the Loch Lubnaig facilities. You can imagine my surprise when he stated that if National Parks can attract Loch Lubnaig type investment then we should be campaigning for more National Parks throughout Scotland. Being selfish and rather attached to our National Park I told him that for the time being it would be better for us to continue with our efforts to improve the facilities throughout Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Some of you may have seen the article in The Scotsman on the Scenic Routes Viewpoint competition. Many thousands of visitors to Scotland  travel along the trunk roads through the Park without stopping and so our businesses lose that


potential trade. Learning from what has been successful  in Scandinavia and elsewhere,  the National Park Authority invited architects to look at ways of providing a man-made structure which would further  encourage people to visit or stop at viewpoints on the major routes through the Park.  Bill Jamieson  chaired the  judging panel  who felt that of the many entries three were of exceptional merit and would admirably fulfil the role sought. And of particular interest to us is that one of the sites is at Loch Lubnaig. Our task now is to get in place the necessary funding. Fingers are crossed. The Community Partnership is proving a very useful organisation for the National Park. Some four years ago they instituted an apprenticeship scheme within the National Park which saw them help place and support 19 apprentices in the construction trades. That scheme proved so successful that work started immediately to look at whether the model could be used to further apprenticeships and training in land based trades and tourism. A successful approach was made to The Leader programme which channels European funding to promote development of rural communities and as a result the new scheme will shortly be rolled out with Angela Constance, MSP, and Minister for Youth Employment  doing the official launch on 11th December at Callander Youth Project. Things are definitely looking up. And on that note may I wish you all A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Owen McKee Taigh Na Bhuth, Lochearnhead, FK19 8PR 01567 830214


All types of tree work undertaken Removal of dangerous trees Crown lifting, Crown reduction, High pruning,Removal of deadwood. All types of fencing erected Mole trapping References can be given. Free estimates

STRATHYRE. TEL 01877384248 07967143910 10

Rambling Club

Sponsored by Caledonian Country Wear

The Club consists of a group of enthusiasts who meet regularly throughout the year to participate in a programme of strolls, rambles, hill walks and a Long Distance Path. Details are published on http://www. a m b l e r s . h t m in the Ben Ledi View and on posters around Callander. New members and guests are always welcome. Here are some dates for your diary: DECEMBER 2013 • Wed 4th 9:30am Ramble: Plean & Torwood Heritage Walk (6 miles) contact 01877 331621 • Wed 11th 9:30am Stroll: Dunblane to Bridge of Allan via Craigarnhall (5 miles) - contact 01786 825249 JANUARY 2014 • Thur 2nd 11:00am Stroll: Town Walk (4 miles) - contact 01877 330444 • Sat 11th 6:30pm AGM + Dinner (details tbc) - contact 01877 339080 / 330032 • Sat 18th 8:30am Ramble: Braes of Doune (6 miles) - contact 01786 841240 • Sat 25th 8:30am Hill: Guallan (461m) contact 01877 382522 February walks to be decided at the AGM

We meet in Ancaster Square, unless otherwise indicated. Please bring wet weather clothing, appropriate footwear and a packed lunch. And please let the walk leader know if you plan to join the walk via the contact number given!

Maid of the Loch is poster perfect To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the famous Maid of the Loch paddle steamer, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has launched a limited edition railway style poster (right) and postcard featuring the Maid, with iconic Ben Lomond in the background. The National Park has donated a number of the posters to Loch Lomond Steamship Company, the charitable trust who currently owns the vessel, to help raise funds towards restoration work. Philip Preston, Chairman for Loch Lomond Steamship Company said: “We are delighted with the poster; it looks fantastic and is a great way to mark the Diamond Anniversary. The poster and postcards will be sold in our shop onboard the Maid with funds going directly to restoration.” Tony McInnes, Head of Visitor Experience for the National Park said, “The Maid of the Loch is a landmark on Loch Lomond and the new poster represents it well. We’re pleased to be able to make the contribution to Loch Lomond Steamship Company and hope it boosts their fundraising efforts”. Posters and postcards are available to buy on the National Park website www. or onboard the Maid of the Loch at Balloch Pier.

Do you need a new home in Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Killin or Callander? If so,

Rural Stirling Housing Association may be able to help

The Association’s aim is to support rural communities by providing affordable good quality homes for people in housing need. We currently have 450 rented homes and around 30 of these become available for re-let each year. We also build some new homes each year. For more details and a housing application form contact us at:

Rural Stirling Housing Association Stirling Road, Doune FK16 6AA Telephone 01786 841101 Email Registered as a Scottish Charity No. SCO37849 Please note that we encourage all applicants to also apply to Stirling Council’s housing list (Tel 0845 277 7000) Being on both lists is the best way to maximise your chances of being re-housed.

Pilates in 2014

Pilates classes in Balquhidder Hall got off to a great start this Autumn. I shall be continuing in the New Year so if anyone is interested in joining a class, please contact me for more information, dates and times. Thanks!

Abbey or 0776 640 7578

Are you a sole trader... a partnership... a small limited company or charity? a I can offer help with your: a VAT returns • Tax returns Book keeping • Credit control a Payroll • General office/paperwork a Helen Clark a 07971 648743 01567 830459 a 11

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council Minutes of Meeting held at Mhor 84 (Kingshouse) on 6th November 2013

Please note that these minutes have not yet received formal approval and should be considered as a draft version only. Present: Suzanne Player (SP), Rural Development Worker for Stirling Council (S-C), Malcolm McNaughton (MM), Paul Hicks (PH), Karen Methven (KM), Adrian Squires (AS), Alastair Barclay (AB), Susie Crammon (SC), Roseanne McWilliams (RM), and David Johnston (DJ). Apologies: None In attendance: PC Will Diamond, Police Scotland. 1) Police Report Prior to the formal meeting, PC Diamond had been invited to report on the recent spate of house burglaries in the area. Altogether, forty-four different offences had been committed since the last meeting. Seven involved crimes of breaking into houses. A large team was suspected of being involved, with people varying in age from twenty to fifty, and possibly emanating from Eastern Europe. Similar offences had been reported throughout the country. PC Diamond urged everyone to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity or persons seen in the area using the telephone number: “101”. It is important that all police activity and involvement locally is logged, to avoid any reduction in the current level of resourcing. This should include forthcoming, local events, such as processions, where a police presence is required, as well as any suspicious or criminal activity. PC Diamond also reported that crime involving animals is on the increase locally. Once again, people are urged to report any suspicions to him via “101”. PC Diamond was thanked for his input and left the meeting at 8 p.m. 2) Welcome On behalf of Stirling Council, SP welcomed those present to the inaugural meeting of the Balquhidder, Lochearnhead and Strathyre Community Council. 3) Community Council Members The list of elected members of the Community Council was read out as follows: Balquhidder Ward: David Johnston, Malcolm McNaughton, Karen Methven and Adrian Squires. Lochearnhead Ward: Alistair Barclay, Angus Cameron and Paul Hicks. Strathyre Ward: Susan Crammon and Rosanne McWilliams. There will be a further election process in February or March 2014, when the vacant ward seats may be filled. Following that, co-option of members may occur during the four year term of the council, to a maximum of four members per ward. 4) Information Exchange The Breadalbane Forum of Community Councils (BFCC) was discussed. Previously, two representatives from this Community Council were delegated to attend. The next meeting is likely to be in January, and will revisit the aims, objectives and structure of the group. It was agreed that AB and PH should continue to represent BLS CC. SP informed members of a meeting on Monday 25th November at 7 p.m. in Killin Primary School to which all BLS Community Councillors will be invited to hear a presentation on “Priority Based Budgeting”. A letter of invitation will be sent. 5) Election of Office Bearers Chairperson: Malcolm McNaughton. (Proposed by RM and seconded by AB.) Vice-Chair: Alistair Barclay. (Proposed by SC and seconded by KM.) Secretary: Paul Hicks. (Proposed by MM and seconded by AS.) Treasurer: Alistair Barclay. (Proposed by MM and seconded by RM.) Planning & Licensing: Adrian Squires. (Proposed by AB and seconded by PH.) BFCC Representatives: Alistair Barclay and Paul Hicks. 6) Model Constitution The model constitution, prepared by Stirling Council, was formally adopted and signed. 7) Conclusion Once agreed at the next meeting on 11th December 2013, PH will arrange for a list of future meeting dates to be sent to Helen Geddes (S-C). Action: PH to send schedule of meetings to S-C. 8) Any Other Competent Business 8.1) Five Lochs Development. RM raised a query about the opening time of the new facilities beside Loch Lubnaig. Various members commented that, owing to the building at one of the locations being sited in a slightly different position, improved sight lines were required and this had prolonged the time taken to complete this project. 8.2) Hydro Scheme - Kendrum Burn. AS queried how things stood regarding the establishment of a community benefit fund in respect of this development. PH replied that a representative of the company, Andrew Logie, would be invited to the next meeting of the CC to discuss the matter. There was no other business and, at 8:45 p.m., MM declared the meeting closed. The next meeting is due to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 11th December 2013 at Mhor84 (Kingshouse).

H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H H The Inaugural meeting of the new Balquhidder, Lochearnhead & Strathyre Community Council took place on the evening of November 6th. The members of the Community Council who will hold office for 4 years are: Balquhidder Ward: Malcolm McNaughton (Chair), Karen Methven, Adrian Squires, David Johnston. Lochearnhead Ward:   Alistair Barclay (Vice Chair & Treasurer), Paul Hicks (Secretary), Angus Cameron. Strathyre Ward:  Rosanne McWilliams, Susan Crammon. There are 3 vacant seats remaining: one in Lochearnhead ward and 2 in Strathyre, with another opportunity for nominations in February 2014 - so if you are interested in community issues and want to support the work of the Community Council, please consider putting your name forward. 12

Rusty McD interviews another animal lover in the community!

5 minutes with...

Cathy... and ‘Digger’

Another wonderful greeting at the door, this time from Digger – a black lab who has carefully retrieved his soft pheasant toy and holds it proudly in his mouth for me to see. Digger lives at Lochearnhead Post Office with Cathy McClean, who has been kind enough to let me ask her a few questions and introduce me to her chickens, duck and cats as well. So tell me about Digger? Digger is 8 years old – he’s a rescue dog. It was a vet who owned his mother - she was a breeding lab but was caught by a dog at a shinty match and had an unplanned pregnancy. The vet had serious concerns about the hip stability of the father so gave the mother an injection to abort the pregnancy. The injection didn’t work and the pups were eventually born. The vet had planned to euthanasia the pups but was persuaded to let them go to homes providing they were neutered. Happily Digger hasn’t got any hip problems. In fact he loves to be active. His favourite hobby is ski touring and playing in the snow. We put skins on the bottom of our skis so we can walk up the hill without sliding down. Digger runs uphill with us then ‘skis’ down on his belly – chin out and paws to the side. You can tell he is having a brilliant time although we have to make sure he’s far enough in front of us so we don’t bump into him. Tell me about the cats? Well, there’s Trouble and Numpty – both moggy cats. They were rescued from a feral life and homed with me. I used to have 8 cats – I was a soft touch for the Cat Protection League in Fort William – I just couldn’t say “No” – especially if the cats had disabilities. What kinds of disabilities do cats have? Most have brain damage which affects them in various ways. I was once given a cat that couldn’t walk at all. It was very upsetting when I first saw him but then I learned to focus on what he could do rather than what he couldn’t do. He had a good long, natural lifespan - loved the fire and eating chicken. He could get onto his front legs

and crawl across the floor when he wanted to. There was also Casper – the two ends of his body went in opposite direction. I also had Oddbod – a cat with epilepsy. He had been traumatised and treated very badly. He had lost all his muscle tone as a result of hiding for a long time to stay away from danger. He became a very affectionate cat – such a transformation from how he was when he arrived. I have to say that although I’m trying to limit my cat numbers now I would take a disabled one if I was asked to – I do have a soft spot for them. Have you always had lots of animals? Yes - I used to have 2 horses, Chocolate and Mac, but sadly both died last summer. I still have chickens, Fanny, Willamina, Gayle and Lionel and a duck called Howard. The last lot of chickens I had were named after my boyfriend’s ex-wives, Kate, Alison and Caroline – he’s still on good terms with one of them who thought it was as funny as I did. Have you had a long history with the Post Office? Not at all – I used to be a driving instructor. I wanted a change and self-employment but in a relatively low risk business. I have to say that it hasn’t turned out quite as I expected but I do enjoy the outdoor lifestyle I get to lead here.

Tell me more about that – what do you like about living in Lochearnhead? Without a doubt the availability of all outdoor pursuits. I love water-skiing and wakeboarding. We keep a boat on Loch Earn so that we can go as often as we can. I also love walking, climbing the Munros and mountain biking. Have you always lived in Scotland? No, my Dad came from Kinguissie but I was brought up in the North West of England. We used to spend all our holidays in Scotland and it became a dream to come here to live. I moved up 11 years ago and Dad now lives in Dunkeld. I couldn’t go back to England now I love the mountains too much! What are your plans for Christmas? Well we only get 2 days off but I am off to Idaho in America for a month next year to ski! It was lovely to meet Cathy properly – a really cheery lady who plays such an important role in the community. Standby to see who she recommended me to meet next time... Here’s a handy fact I learned during my time sitting behind the Post Office counter. You can apply to the main sorting office in Stirling to be taken off the list of people who are prepared to accept junk mail. Your request has to be renewed annually but it is certainly something I will be doing to avoid the extra bits of paper that I don’t want coming through my letter box.


BLS – Where Business Does the Talking By Iona Mchedliani Many of you will know Alan Sneddon from his memorable performance as Widow Twankee in last year’s Christmas pantomime in Balquhidder Village Hall. He is also an active member of the community, shouldering many responsibilities including helping with the running of the Hall. Alan’s real job, however, involves a fascinating combination of taking people out on hunting and wildlife tours in the local area, as well as being an expert advisor in the deer business. Based in Balquhidder, here he talks about life in the Highlands today, and explains what his work is like taking clients out deerstalking and wildlife-spotting in the hills. When did you first move to the Glen? It must have been about five years ago. What made you decide to open your business ‘Hidden Glen Safaris’? Well, it was actually probably kick-started by being made redundant, I suppose. That was part of my job beforehand, when I worked for Monachyle Mhor, but then when I got paid off there was a need to do something, because we wanted to stay here. We are very grateful to the landowners who have given us access to their tracks and to the support from local businesses and the community as a whole. You also provide deerstalking trips for people, is that right? Yes, well I do various things. I still do deerstalking for Monachyle Mhor, and all the venison that’s shot on the hill up there goes through Monachyle’s restaurants. I also have a business called The Venison Advisory Service which was started last year. I’m a director of that, and it’s actually going really well. Since there is a huge demand for venison at the moment which Scotland can’t supply, we have to import from Europe and New Zealand. This means that there is an opportunity for people to either set up deer farms or deer parks, to fulfil that shortfall in the venison market. So what happens to the venison from one of your cull animals? All the venison that’s taken off the hill belongs to Monachyle Mhor, so they then, what we call, “seam butcher” the carcasses. It’s usually hung for a fortnight to three weeks in a chill. Its then seam butchered, and then it ends up on a plate. It’s one of the healthiest meats you can eat; one of the healthiest red meats you can eat is definitely venison. What does a day at work typically look like for you? A day at work, well, it’s really good because it’s very varied. Generally speaking, the tours 14

Alan makes sure that his tour guests get the best view of whatever’s out there...

I do tend to be more or less a fixed route, so it’s about three hours. I collect guests at 9:30 and drop the first lot back around about 12:30 - 1 o’clock. And then if we’ve got an afternoon trip it’s normally from about 1:30 - 2 o’clock. In the wintertime it’s just one session, usually the morning session, because it gets dark too early. And we tend to see things in the wintertime more than often in the morning rather than in the afternoon. Between times I catch up with the advisory work. Where are the majority of your clients from? Are they locals or are they from further afield, even abroad? There’s quite a mixture. I obviously have clients from Monachyle Mhor. I have people who contact me directly through the website. And I also have a contract with Forest Holidays. Forest Holidays is the Forestry Commission accommodation partnership. Basically Forest Holidays have a cabin site at Strathyre by the end of Loch Lubnaig, at the Stank. And they’ve also got another one at Ardgartan on Loch Long, as well as having many more across the UK. So, I’m now what they call an “activities provider”. This means that I have a contract with them to provide an activity for guests, which is going really well. How experienced do you need to be to go deerstalking? The bulk of my clients who are deerstalking tend to be people who’ve been coming now for three years. And we do get young lads coming with their fathers and quite a lot of women actually, certainly through the hotel. I’m quite happy to take out novice stalkers, so a lot of my clients initially have been firsttime stalkers who have subsequently come back. They tend to do two days a year, that sort of thing. What is required of a client before going deerstalking with you? Basically, I can provide what’s called the estate rifle. So that’s a rifle that’s on my license which can be used under direct supervision by me. So you don’t have to have your own firearms and ammunition. And you don’t have to have

any previous experience. What you do need to have is a reasonable degree of fitness and there’s obviously a shooting practice where we go to the target in the morning. Every client, before we go out on the hill, goes to the target. So there’s a sort of competence test. Even people who haven’t shot before, with proper instruction usually pass that. I’ve had nobody really that can’t hit the target. So they have to be able to hit the target before you take them out? Yes, they also get familiar with the rifle in terms of its safety, which is the number one thing. So we go through a strict safety procedure with the rifle. And then we have two or three shots, say at a 3 inch target at a hundred yards, and most people can do that no problem. And then we head out onto the hill. The day is not only about shooting the animal; the day is experiencing a day on the hill. Our objective is actually to take a cull, but people will pay regardless of whether they have an animal or not, because it’s the whole experience of being on the hill that they want. How long does it take on average to stalk a deer? Is it always successful? It’s not always successful. I’d say, in a good season, 70% of the time we would come back with a cull animal. And that’s within 3 hours? No, you’re looking at all day. So a typical stalking day would be to collect the guest around 9:00 or 9:30, go to the target, spend twenty minutes at the target, and we would expect to be making our way out onto the hill on foot by about 10-ish. So when we go out of the glen in the vehicle we stop at various points and we spy the ground. And where we look is dependent on wind, weather conditions etc. So the stalker, being myself, should be experienced enough to know his grounds, to know where the animals are going to be under certain conditions. And that makes it slightly easier. You don’t have to cover the whole estate trying to find some deer.

Nominations sought for Commemorative Plaques to mark Year of Natural Scotland

Off in search of the ‘hidden glen’

So, generally speaking, we’re out from 9:30 till late afternoon, in the winter, during the hind season, it’s a shorter day because of the weather obviously, and the dark. What’s the hind season? Well, there are two seasons for red deer: there are the stags, which are the males, and then there are the hinds, which are the females. They are shot at different times of the year. The Deer Act is very strict so we do adhere to the close seasons. Do you have any funny stories from any of your trips or tours? One of the funniest ones was when we had a lady, a client, out stalking one day, and we were trying to explain that under snowy conditions deer sometimes find it difficult to find things to eat, to which she said - “well why don’t they just eat the rabbits?” She was being deadly serious. So that took a little bit of explaining. One, that there were no rabbits, and two, that deer aren’t carnivores! So that was funny. What would you say then are the more difficult aspects of your line of work? The difficult aspects are, in terms of a business, planning throughout the year to cope with times that are very quiet. Business is very seasonal. So the venison consultancy business I have has filled that gap to a certain extent. Although we do practical work, I do physical handling of deer in setting up a deer park; I also do a lot of planning which can be done on a computer after a field visit. So yes, that’s one of the difficult things, knowing when to market, and knowing when you’re going to be busy; coping with the busy times and knowing to be able to cope with the quiet times as well. Which season is the best for your hunting and sightseeing tours? Arguably all year round, because each day is different. Personally, however, my favourite time of year is the late autumn - October. It’s just nice to be out then... there are no midges! There’s the colours of the autumn, there’s the rut starting so you can hear the stags roaring. It’s just a fabulous time to be out! Interested parties please refer to: or, for The Venison Advisory Service,

People are being asked to put forward their nominations for the historic figures they would like to see honoured in the second year of the Commemorative Plaques Scheme for Scotland.  This year’s theme is to celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland.   The call for nominations  was launched by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs. She said: “The launch of the Commemorative Plaque Scheme for Scotland has been very well received. The theme for the second year is inspired by the Year of Natural Scotland, celebrating Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty and culture. Scotland is known around the world for its outstanding landscape.  We have a wealth of historic figures whose incredible achievements have been inspired by Scotland’s stunning natural and historic settings from conservationists to artists, writers, architects, chefs and teachers.   “This scheme will ensure that all of these exceptional individuals are given the recognition they deserve and their accomplishments appreciated by future generations.”   There will be a maximum of 12 plaques awarded every year and these will be decided by an independent academic panel, still to be announced. People are invited to submit their nominations for the historic figures they would like to put forward by filling in an application form on Historic Scotland’s website - commemorativeplaques - with up to 1,000 words on two questions explaining why their chosen person is appropriate for a Commemorative Plaque.   The closing date for applications is 31st December 2013.


by Jonathan MacDonald

For all you keen gardeners out there. Have a go - there’s a gift voucher up for grabs! 1) What have Richard and Judy, Terry Wogan, and Kim Wilde all got in common? 2) Which of these is not a variety of potato: Pink fir apple, King Alfred, Duke of York 3) What did Beechgrove presenter Chris Beardshaw do before working in TV? 4) Which BBC Radio 4 Gardeners’ Question Time panellist was a nude male model and an animal impersonator before becoming a keen organic gardener? 5) What’s the name of the amazing insect eating plant that snaps its jaws shut on unsuspecting prey? 6) Begonia seeds are tiny. How many of them weigh just one gram? 7) What was the UK’s top selling bedding plant this year? 8) What essential piece of garden equipment was invented in 1832? 9) What country has the closet climate to Scotland in the world? 10) Can you name one of the handful of endemic Scottish plants (i.e. only occurs in Scotland and no where else? Send your answers to by 15th December 2013.

First person with correct answers (or the most correct!) will receive a £20 gift voucher for the Riverside Garden Centre in Comrie.

Winter opening Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun 9.30 - 4.00

End of Season SALE - up to 50% off most stock Burning Peat now in stock - 30kg only - £7.95!

Tullybannocher, Comrie Contact: Jonathan MacDonald

Tel: 01764 670800


McLaren High School News

Masks, ‘taches, onesies and strange feet abound as senior students enter into the spirit of CIN Children in Need On Friday 15 November the pupils of McLaren High took part in a ‘Children in Need Day’ where pupils paid £1 to come to school in ‘non-uniform’ for the day. The senior pupils turned up in fancy dress and the rest of the school judged them! The winners were Iona Campbell and Kate Preston dressed as Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. During lunchtime a video was shown which was produced by the Sixth Year boys. A remarkable £871.71 was raised for Children in Need. Hamish Cordner S6 Below: PE Staff metamorphosed into the Ninja Turtles for the day.... scary!

Kate and Iona won first prize for their Monsters Inc costumes

Autumn Concert McLaren High’s first concert of this session took place in the school on Thursday 10 October. With only 6 rehearsals behind them (some groups even less than that!) the concert represented a high standard of music-making across a wide range of instrumental and vocal groups. The Brass, String and Jazz Ensembles, along with the Wind Band, the Mixed Voices (which included some teachers!) and the S2 Ensemble all performed during the evening, with full orchestral pieces played at the start and the end of the concert. The Male Vocal Group treated the audience to a humorous, well sung and brilliantly performed version of the Four Chord Song and Alasdair Murphy S4 showed off his talents with a guitar solo. Special mention must also go to the amazing version of the Bond theme tune Skyfall that the orchestra played to accompany the terrific vocals of 2 young ladies from S1, Megan Milligan and Charlotte Scott. Well done to all involved for yet another fantastic concert!!


Mufti Day – Breast Cancer Awareness On 10 October some S6 pupils and a select few staff at McLaren High School were auctioned off to become a ‘slave for the day’. On 11 October these pupils and staff were made to dress up in ridiculous outfits and forced to obey the commands of their owners for the day. This school tradition was held to help raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. Participants were sold for prices reaching up to £58! and some pupils joined together to collect enough to buy slaves of their choice. Also on the Friday pupils and staff paid £1 for the privilege of wearing pink for the day. Thanks to the generosity of all at McLaren we managed to raise a staggering £1160.95 for this great cause! Alistair Orr S6

Top Left: Ollie Wesley and above, Iain Stott, both S6. Very fetching!

DofE Ceilidh On 25 October McLaren High School Duke of Edinburgh Group held a ceilidh to raise money for the group. With a great turn out, and lots of prizes kindly donated by local businesses to be won in the raffle, the evening was an undeniable success. There was some great home baking to fuel the dancing half way through the evening and everyone had a brilliant time with the talented live band keeping everyone on their feet and smiling. Thanks to everyone who was involved and came along on the night - approximately £1000 was raised to fund the Duke of Edinburgh Awards for the school. Sophie Rees S4

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McLaren High v Queen Victoria – Central Brewin Dolphin Shield Final After winning matches against Alva and Denny High Schools, McLaren travelled to Stirling County RFC to play Queen Victoria School in the Final of the Central Brewin Dolphin Shield competition. It was a cold and wet afternoon, so not the greatest conditions for free flowing rugby, but both teams tried their hardest to put on a good display. It was a close start to the game, with McLaren relying on their strong defence early on to keep out Queen Victoria. However, QV did break through to score a try, taking the lead. McLaren struggled to clear their lines, and found themselves under more pressure with the score at 12-0. They started to play some rugby down in the other half, but unfortunately did not manage to cross the line due to the strong QV defence. One more score for the leaders resulted in 19-0 at half time. McLaren started the second half with more aggression and control, and put Queen Victoria under more pressure. Both teams traded attacks in the second half, with Queen Victoria more clinical in the final third. However, Connor Clark did manage to score for McLaren, with Kieran Rennie successfully converting the try. Although the game finished 31-7 to Queen Victoria, both teams put in an excellent display and showed commitment throughout. Congratulations to Queen Victoria, and all the best for them in the next round.

McLaren High v Denny High – Brewin Dolphin Plate Semi Final (Central) On 29 October McLaren travelled to Denny to play the Central Regional semi final of the Brewin Dolphin Plate competition. The game was a physical contest, with Denny matching the McLaren boys in the contact areas. The match started extremely close, and McLaren opened the scoring. However, only a few minutes later they were trailing 7-5 to the rejuvenated Denny side. This sparked McLaren into life, and they began to take the game to Denny. Although the game maintained its high tempo and competitiveness, it was McLaren that went on to dominate, and won the match 44-7. Although the score line seems one sided, both teams put up an excellent display of hard tackling and support. The try scorers for McLaren were Cameron Hendry (2), Duncan Hendry (2), Luke Maher (2), Connor Clark, Rory Abernethy and Keir Hail Brown. The boys will now travel to Stirling County RFC to play Queen Victoria School in the final.




Jean Watt (Jeanie Sweeney) 1920-2013

Jean Watt was born at Hareshawhill Farm almost exactly 93 years ago on 18th November 1920. Her parents were Hugh and Maggie Sweeney and her grandfathers and uncles were elders in Drumclog church. Her sister Lilian died in infancy, and her parents both died before she was 12 and she then lived with her Uncle Tom, whose son Tommy was like a brother to her. She did well at school, becoming Dux at Strathaven Academy before going on to Hamilton Academy and then excelling in shorthand at college. She got a job with the Post Office and worked in Glasgow and then Harrogate, leaving during the war to join the WAAF where she worked in signals, helping the RAF pilots safely back to base. After the war she went back to the Post Office, leaving in 1949 when she married Rodger in Glasgow. He was a civil servant, examining electricity meters, though he liked to cloak his work with a veil of secrecy. Robert was born in 1952, and his ill health was traced to Cystic Fibrosis, which made life hard particularly hard for Jean, and she gave herself to his care until he died in 1971 while studying accountancy at Strathclyde University. For many years she was passionately involved in fundraising for CF, and her work was marked by an award from the Scottish Trust and by the Provost of Stirling’s Medal in 2010. She then had twins who died at birth, and then Hugh was born in 1957. They lived in Bearsden, where Jean’s hospitality was the known far and wide, and many friends, relatives and strangers were welcomed for a meal or a bed for the night. She was a happy and able help mate to Rodger, Rodger’s hobby was the violin, and Jean used to travel with him to concerts of the Bearsden Orchestral Society, where she was like an honorary member. In 1974 they celebrated their silver wedding and had a party with many of their original wedding guests, and then in 1976 Rodger took early retirement. They moved to bonnie Strathyre, where Rodger loved his fishing, and Jean provided hospitality to guests from all over the world. Sadly Rodger died suddenly in 1983 of a heart attack, and although it was a huge shock for Jean, she carried on running the guest house, where many guests became close friends over the years, only giving up in her mid eighties. Entertaining was second nature to her, and many of us can testify to her powers of persuasion to have “a wee 18


sandwich”, which was usually more like a full meal. At Strathyre Jean kept busy with the house and garden - often gardening for 8 hours at a stretch - and taking part in rural life through the winter months. She was also involved in the local church and its Woman’s Guild, as she had been in Bearsden, and while in her 80s she used to take the “old ladies” to church. Many of us will remember the happy times at Jean’s house buying our Christmas cards, wrapping paper and presents supplied by Jean with the proceeds going to C.F. She also took on the huge task of providing refreshment for all the charity cyclists who came by every year to raise yet more funds. In 2010 she reluctantly sold Dunellan and moved to Drumnadrochit to be near Hugh and the family, and for 2 years she had a new lease of life and made many new friends in the church and community. There will be a thanksgiving service in Drumnadrochit in a few weeks time. However last year she broke her hip and, after five months in hospital, she moved to Isobel Fraser residential home in Inverness where her contentedness and her lovely smile endeared her to everyone. In spite of the sadness of losing Robbie in his youth and Rodger not long after retiral, she gave and received much joy and happiness. All who knew her felt their lives enriched by her friendship. She was much loved by Hugh and Ann, and by the grandchildren Shirley, Lisa, Karen, Emma and Rodger. Our heartfelt sympathies go to Hugh and all the family. Rev. Malcolm Duff Pauline Perkins





Highland Glen Travel would like to say ‘Thank You’ for all your support during 2013. We have had a wonderful year. We have started to get bookings for our Bespoke Tours - and private hire usage has increased. We are getting enquiries regarding Christmas and New Year. The DRT (Demand Responsive Transport) taxi bus has become very well used although still slightly misunderstood! We would like to explain about DRT for those who are still unsure. This service operates between 07.00am and 21.30pm 7 days a week (360 days a year). We cover Strathyre, Balquhidder and Lochearnhead. You can book up to 8pm the previous day. Everyone can use this service! Fares are comparable with bus fares and you are charged per mile, or part of. The minimum fare has just risen to £3.00 for up to 2.5 miles. People with Scottish concessionary bus passes may use them on the DRT. Please telephone 07554 195446 if you have any questions. DRT does not operate on 25th and 26th December / 1st & 2nd January. Private Hire will be available on: Christmas Eve / Hogmanay, all day (last booking 01.00) Christmas Day, 12 noon - 20:00pm Boxing Day / New Year’s Day



by Old Nyati

*Once in demand by Victorian miniaturists, the tiny pin-feather comes from the leading edge of a woodcock’s wing and only two such feathers occur on each bird (one on each wing). This month Old Nyati shares a poem. Choose a quiet moment, pour a wee dram and sit by the fire with just the cat or the dog and carefully read this poem. It was written by a soldier on active service in a far distant land a few Christmases ago. I make no apologies if you have read it before; it is worth reading more than once.   If you get a lump in your throat or just the hint of a tear then your thoughts are in the right place. Read on and let your imagination paint the picture. T’WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, HE LIVED ALL ALONE, IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE, MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE. I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY, WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE, AND TO SEE JUST WHO, IN THIS HOME, DID LIVE.   I LOOKED ALL ABOUT, A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE, NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS, NOT EVEN A TREE.   NO STOCKING BY MANTLE, JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND, ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES, OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.   WITH MEDALS AND BADGES, AWARDS OF ALL KINDS, A SOBER THOUGHT, CAME THROUGH MY MIND.   FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT, IT WAS DARK AND DREARY, I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER, ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

Remembrance Services Approximately 30 attended the Lochearnhead service in sunshine. Our local Police Constable Will Diamond provided traffic control, several drivers and passengers alighting from their vehicles to join the commemoration of the twenty-eight WW1 Fallen and three WW2, whose names appear on the memorials in Lochearnhead, Balquhidder and Strathyre. The service was conducted jointly by the Reverend Bill Roots, late of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers for St Angus Church and Malcolm White, ordained Elder, Balquhidder Church. Alistair Barclay took photographs before the religious service; wreaths were laid by Sam Morshead, St Angus, Maureen Lipscomb, Balquhidder Congregational Board member, Owen McKee, and Deputy Convenor National Park. Councillor Alycia Hayes laid a wreath on behalf of Stirling Council. Piper Kieran McNicol, Balquhidder, played the lament “The Flowers of the Forest” on a good Pipe. Mrs Christine Campbell read the names of the Fallen, ‘Lest we Forget’. Six of those attending wore Campaign medals. The service in Balquhidder was conducted by the Reverend John Lincoln; the wreaths were laid by The Lady Maida MacLaren of MacLaren who has two sons currently serving in the Army. Alycia Hayes laid the wreath from Stirling Council. The service at Strathyre was conducted by the Reverend John Lincoln. The Community Council has been requested to explore the cleaning and re-incising of the names on all three Memorials, hopefully to be completed before the 2014 Centenary Commemoration. Malcolm White, Lochearnhead



Travellers’ Tales

Cigars and BiKE RIDES a tale of Cyling After my 900km trip last year in northern Spain, cycling on the Camino, I knew that I had at least one more lengthy bike trip in my legs...

with Ian Inglis

Ian describes the last ‘leg’ of his cycling trip this summer, through Cuba, with his son Brian.

We were well into our trip now and we found ourselves taking a well-earned breather at Santa Clara. Santa Clara is the site of one of the most famous battles of the revolution. Che Guevara and a small number of guerrillas ambushed a troop train with 350 men and ammunition on board, using a bulldozer. The ambush was successful and from Santa Clara preserved Spanish colonial settlement where the massed ranks of a guerrilla force marched the clocks stopped ticking in 1850. Declared a on Havana, with Fidel Castro at its head. The world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988 it has rest is history - and history is very much a part profited from the resulting funds. The ride to Trinidad was pretty uneventful, just bowling of this wonderful country. Santa Clara is a permanent monument to along in our peloton of two. Occasionally I Che Guevara. Everywhere you go there are would take the lead but I was more than happy statues, billboards and museums dedicated to just leaving that to Brian. There is something his memory. He is held very close to the hearts quite mesmeric and rhythmic about rattling of all Cubans, even though he wasn’t Cuban - along km after km with just the sound of he was a medical practitioner from Argentina. nature, connected like an umbilical cord to After 2 nights holed up in Santa Clara, we set Brian’s rear wheel. off on the second phase of the trip. We headed Trinidad was such a delight that we decided 50km west to Remedios, famous for people to spend two nights there. Joining the hoards leaving - sick and tired of pirate invasions in of tourists was nice, having been in some very the 16th century half the population got up remote areas where we saw very few people. We and left for Santa Clara! It is one of the oldest even ventured into an outdoor nightclub and settlements in Cuba and boasts the only town had a few mojitos. Watching the dancers, some of whom were customers, writhing around, square housing two cathedrals. The following day the casa owner gave us a I was amazed at how the human body could 25km ride out towards our next destination of contort. I never realized how hips could move Placetas and we cycled 55km on a wonderfully in such a way. If I hadn’t seen it with my own flat road, into town. Brian was chuffed as the eyes I would not have believed it! A whole driver had covered his bike in bubble wrap extra week’s stay would not have done justice to Trinidad. before placing it on his roof rack. Learning our lesson during the previous part The last part of the trip to Cienfuegos was of the trip, we hit the road at 8am before the some 85km away, which was just too far. So sun was able to do its damage. During the east rather than do the taxi thing again we spotted coast part of the journey we got caught out a a holiday resort some 25km along the way. few times, by leaving a little later, meaning that The journey to Playa Yaguambo was a blast; the big ball of fire in the sky was able to cause bowling along a flat coast road knowing we some hurt! So we headed off on empty streets had only 25km to cover was a great feeling. It making our way to Sancti Spiritus some 55km was rather bizarre when we arrived, suddenly seeing crowds of people on the beach and at the away. One of the many glorious delights of Cuba hotel because it was in the middle of nowhere. is the sublime colonial architecture and the Our little detached chalet was just a few metres main square of Sancti Spiritus is a fine example away from the water’s edge. of this. It seems to me that this is one of the Knowing that we had a big day the following positive aspects of the half century embargo. It day we set off at around 7am for our last day in appears that time has stood still. Would all of the saddle to Cienfuegos. The first 40km was the wonderful buildings exist if the state had relatively straightforward as we were hugging the coast, but as we approached the last 20km continued on its pre-revolution trajectory? The second phase of the trip was going really the ground started to undulate and it was a well. My energy levels were much improved - I little tougher. guess I was getting fitter and that coupled with My sense of Cienfuegos when we cycled the shorter distances made for a happier time through, was one of a well healed city. As with less dependency on Brian. So it was that the guide books say “while much of Cuba we set off, with great expectation and a spring is visibly reeling in the current economic crisis, Cienfuegos seems to positively glitter”. in our pedals, for Trinidad, 55km west. Trinidad is a one of a kind, a perfectly UNESCO status was granted in 2005 and along 20

with the accompanying investment and the fact that it is a major seaport with a natural bay of some 88 sq km Cienfuegos was the richest place we had visited in Cuba. As we entered the city I was somewhat overcome by the enormity of our journey - after some 700 plus kilometres we had made it. We got off our bikes outside our Casa, and I gave Brian a massive hug and a smacker on the cheek. It had been a sheer delight spending a month in his company, and at that moment I just felt a huge wall of gratitude and love towards him. What more can a father ask, than to spend such a huge chunk of time with his son. It was a joy and a privilege. Our time in Cienfuegos ended all too quickly and we headed west on a 13 hour bus journey back to Havana for two nights before home time. Havana is a city of huge contrasts. 2 million live here and everyone seems to be a musician! The sound of music pervades the air. Alongside riches there is deep poverty. Architecturally, it is studded with some real jewels. The old town alone has some 900 buildings of historical importance, ranging from intricate baroque to glitzy art deco. A walk along the 8km malecon (Havana waterfront) is like a walk in a different world, with its rich architecture and amazing nightlife; it appears that the whole of Havana turns up after sunset. On our last night in Havana, we sat for a couple of hours just watching the evening go by and chatting to various people. One young guy, a baker, whose self taught English was almost perfect, told us that he earned 8 dollars per month. Just how people survive in this fantastic country is an amazing feat. I can do no better than quote the guidebook in summing up the Habaneros, “the attraction is the authenticity - they don’t just survive, they duck and dive, scheme and dream, create and debate, but most of all, they live - with a rare passion”. So it was on the 27th of July Brian and I parted company after one of the most memorable times of my life, Brian to Brisbane and Ian to Balquhidder. I am so overjoyed that Brian joined me. It was always my plan to go to Cuba on my own, but I’m so glad the way things turned out. I couldn’t have done it without him.

DOCTORS Bracklinn Surgery

Heart to Heart

A local unique charity giving hope to those affected by relationship breakdown. Heart to Heart grew out of two local ladies struggling with the emotional effects of their own divorces. They looked around and found no services or organisations to give them support. Whilst there are a number of services aimed at marriage enrichment, couple counselling and mediation, there were none in Scotland specifically addressing individual recovery from divorce or separation. From these small beginnings has grown a unique charity that listens, supports and promotes emotional well-being and enables lasting change. Hearts to Heart’s objectives are: - to provide a safe environment for clients to address the negative effects of relationship breakdown - to improve mental wellbeing and enable clients to flourish through the restoration of selfconfidence and esteem - to increase a range of relevant life skills in order to make positive change Heart to Heart continues to support adults cope with divorce and/or separation and has now provided vital support to approx. 200 people. Heart to Heart helps people address their current social and emotional needs and deal with complex life situations by providing a 6-week group support course. Courses run regularly throughout the year and are on a structured, yet informal and friendly, basis. The weekly group topics are centred on: Coping with Change, Forgiveness, Relationships & Boundaries, Communication, Legal / Moral Issues, Handling / Resolving conflict. Our second project is called H2H: bringing hope to young people affected by parental divorce or separation. H2H continues to impact and change the lives of 11–18 year olds living rurally in the district of Stirling. H2H supports these young people through an individual support plan delivered by young adult volunteers who have been through a similar experience, these volunteers are called Lifeguides. Lifeguides are trained in a unique toolkit that employs basic cognitive behavioural therapy principles to alleviate anxiety and put in place positive coping methods. H2H also supports young people through group work with an adaptable toolkit delivered by the Lifeguide Coordinator and Lifeguides to equip young people to better cope and deal with change and loss. Hannah Sanderson Heart to Heart and Rural H2H Room Three, Callander Kirk Hall, South Church St Callander FK17 8BN 01877 33 99 66 07790437713 Registered Scottish Charity No SC036813. Rural H2H is financed by youngstart Heart to Heart is financed by The Baird Trust, The Moffat Charitable Trust and Church of Scotland

Stirling Council will need to save around £29M from its revenue budget over the next 5 years (2014/15 - 2018/19) as a result of cuts in its funding levels and spending pressures. To achieve savings of this level while continuing to deliver high quality services the Council will require to work closely with its staff, partners, stakeholders and residents to prioritise the right services and to plan for the future. To achieve this, the Council is introducing a new method of Business Planning called Priority Based Budgeting. This will involve a different, more open approach to financial decision making, engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, including staff. The Working to Shape Stirling’s Future - Draft Report and Supplementary Information on the Service Options are available on the website at www. We are actively seeking comments and any suggested options for consideration. Complete the online survey at Come along to one of our information meetings: Bannockburn High 27 November 7- 8.30 pm Balfron Campus 02 December 7- 8.30 pm Stirling High 03 December 7- 8.30 pm McLaren High 10 December 7- 8.30 pm Dunblane High 12 December 7- 8.30 pm Wallace High 16 December 7- 8.30 pm Contact us by email at

Appointment booking on-line Starting in the New Year, Bracklinn Surgery patients will be able to book appointments through the website. If you have not already registered for the online services, please ask the receptionists for further details. We recognise that the majority of our patients who use this system will be the ones who find it difficult to contact the surgery or attend appointments during the day. Therefore, the online appointments are available every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday late afternoon/early evening. Unfortunately, you will not be able to book appointments to see the nurse this way as her appointments are different lengths depending on what type of appointment is required. You can also cancel an existing appointment on the website if you wish. Please note that telephone calls will appear as appointments and will show a mid-day time. This is not necessarily when the doctor will contact you, but how the system is set up. All the staff at Bracklinn Surgery would like to wish our patients a Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind gifts throughout the year. The surgery will close on Christmas Eve at 1pm, and reopen on Friday 27th December at 8.30am as usual, and New Years Eve at 1pm until Friday 3rd January 2014. During this time please contact NHS24 on 08454 24 24 24.

Leny Surgery Drs Strang & Scott and Drs Mathewson & Gibson Community Nurses The surgeries and community nurses take part in various training programmes throughout the year. This is to meet the educational and training needs of all members of the practice and nursing team. The next training afternoons will be on: Thursday 20th February 2014 On that afternoon, please do not contact the surgeries for repeat prescriptions or for appointments. Both practices and community nurse clinic will close at 12.30pm. Emergency cover will be provided by NHS24 for nursing and GPs. In the event of an emergency, please telephone 08454 242424.


Scottish Wildlife Trust Anthony McClusky, Outreach Officer for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust gave us a fascinating insight into the life of this familiar garden visitor at our November meeting. Bumblebees belong to a group of insects called the Hymenoptera that includes wasps, ants and bees, all identified by nipped-in waists. There are about 250 known species of bumblebee world-wide with 24 native to Britain but only 8 commonly found. 18 species are social bees with a nest of a queen and 50-400 workers; the other 6 are (bigger) cuckoo bees that invade others’ nests, killing or subduing the occupants before laying their own eggs. In contrast, the single species of honey bee is domesticated with hives of a queen and up to 50,000 workers. The bumblebee queen emerges from hibernation in spring to start a new nest

a range of different plants that flower from March to mid-September. For example; March/April – single daffodils, bluebell, rosemary, dead-nettle, lungwort, bugle, flowering currant, heather and pussy willow. May/June – aquilegia, laburnum, geranium, foxglove, comfrey, lupin, chives, thyme, sage, honeysuckle, red clover.

Scottish Wildlife Trust Callander Members’ Diary December to February 2013 Held in the Waverley Hotel, Callander at 7:30pm 10 December 2013 Raptor Research: Caught on Camera by Dave Anderson, FCS Wildlife manager Optional Christmas Buffet 14 January 2014 Wildlife Policing in Nepal by Paul Barr, Wildlife Crime Officer, CSP


July/August – buddleia, cornflower, lavendar, scabious, sunflower, hollyhock, heathers, rock-rose, hardy penstemon. Look out for the Greener Callander and SWT plant sales next year when we will have many of these varieties at amazingly low prices! A guide to gardening for bees, identification guides how to get involved and lots more fascinating facts can be found on the BBCT website Lesley Hawkins

11 February 2014 Poo and Plastic: Threats to Scottish Marine Life by Matt Barnes, Marine Conservation UK All talks held in the back room of the Waverley Hotel, Main Street, Callander at 7:30pm Admission £2 members, £2.50 nonmembers, free to full-time students, includes tea/coffee & biscuits.

Bumblebee Queen

and lays several batches of eggs throughout summer. Although cold-blooded she incubates them by shivering her flight muscles, generating enough heat to keep them close to 30C. These eggs develop into the female workers whose job is to feed and nurture the colony. Towards the end of summer the queen produces male offspring and new queens. After mating the males die off, as do the old queen and workers, only the newly fertilised queens hibernate over winter, storing sperm until ready to start their own nests in spring. Bumblebees eat only nectar and pollen and may fly over a mile from their nest to find food. However, loss of habitat and food sources has already seen 3 of the UK’s species become extinct in the 1900’s, two are critically endangered and several more are heading that way. Why does it matter? Pollination of food crops by insects, including apples, raspberries, strawberries, peas, beans and tomatoes is worth £440pa in Britain – do we want to hand-pollinate them or eat only windpollinated cereals? While landscape-wide changes are needed, more than one million hectares of gardens in Britain can provide a stronghold for bumblebees (and other wildlife). Development of showy flowers like pansies, petunias, begonias and busy-lizzies has been at the expense of pollen and nectar or they may not be accessible to bees. Bumblebee species differ in tongue length so can access different shapes of flowers. It is important, therefore, to grow 22

Killin’s Community Choir recently held a very successful “Harvest Concert” and supper evening, when a very varied programme of music was enjoyed by a large audience. The choir proved how talented they are by singing a challenging wide range of pieces from Mozart through to Simon & Garfunkel, so offering music for all tastes. Their ambitious repertoire was also reflected in the fact that they sang in four different languages. The choir has grown over the last few years, particularly under the stewardship of Fran Morrison, a soprano with Scottish Opera. The members are drawn from a wide area and all enjoy the choir for the fun and enjoyment they gain from making music which covers a wide range of styles as seen in the repertoire of their most recent concert and which will be on show in their forth coming concert in Lochearnhead Hall on Sunday the 15th at 6pm.

Exciting Find in Strathyre! They may not float everybody’s boat but to me they are a wonder of nature - and they also provide a tasty treat. Yes - I’m talking mushrooms! This year’s summer has produced an abundance of funghi everywhere. As soon as August arrives (and sometimes before) I’m out hunting mushrooms; searching primarily for Chanterelles (Cantherellis) and pictured here, Penny Buns (Boletus edulis), but also other tasty mushrooms. Collecting mushrooms can be a dodgy hobby if you don’t know what your looking for - so just make sure you are 100% certain of the identity before consuming any. I digress, but I have made an important discovery which I wish to share with you. Late September I was funghi hunting in Strathyre and had been quite successful. Just before I went home I decided to go down a forestry track which I hadn’t tried for years. There were plentify of funghi but not all edible. As I turned to walk back to the car, something brightly coloured caught my eye in amongst the scrub. Bending down I saw a fungus I’d never seen before. The colour and shape were startling. I took a lot of pictures - and as there were quite a few examples I picked one or two to take home to try to identify from the many mushroom books I have. The only thing it resembled was a species of Peziza but the colour and shape were not quite the same... On to the web! I went looking through hundreds of Google pictures and I found some images that were very similar. Still not content, I logged on to the British Mycological Society at Kew Gardens - and it confirmed the identity of my fungus. It is known as ‘The Salmon Salad’ or to give it its proper title: Guepinia hellvelloides. Cor! What a mouthful - and believe it or not, it is edible. I tried a bit and to be honest it was pretty tasteless: a faint hint of mushroomness, but the texture was like a cross between a wine gum and an ordinary jelly – yuk. This particular fungus was quoted as being very rare and has only been found once before in Scotland, at Doune Ponds area, back in 1990. Well I was very excited and thought I should tell someone. On the Societies website I found out there was a section known as the Clyde & Argyll Fungus Group so I sent photos and descriptions to them. They even cover our area. An email came back almost immediately, telling me of their excitment at my find. To me it was better than winning the lottery! What’s more, I was told that my discovery would be discussed by The Scottish Fungal

One more pic! You never know - you might never see them again. This is just how I found them.

Guepinia hellvelloides or ‘The Salmon Salad’ Conservation Forum at Aberdeen in December, to see what steps can be taken to protect the site. I even had to give them a six-figure ordinance survey map reference.

I have since been told that my discovery will be printed in the FRDBI (Fungal Records Database of Britain & Ireland) and the NBN Gateway (National Biodiversity Network) where I will be given full credit for the discovery. I can’t tell you how delighted I am. So ‘when you go down in the woods today’, you never know what you might find! Pauline Perkins, Fungal Forager

Farm Forum: Fauna, Aves et Piscis I was disappointed to read that there is a proposal to have a major cull of the feral goats on Loch Lomond side. It seems strange when you consider that other herbivores like sheep and cattle have been drastically reduced and in many areas completely removed over the last number of years - about one million sheep have come off the hills since the year 2000 along with a large number of hill cows. The result being that scrub growth has encroached to the extent that many plant species will have been smothered out and the resultant wilderness not fit for man or beast. Indeed there are quite a few instances where cattle have had to be brought back to improve the situation in fact some instances not so far from here. Would it not be an idea to spare the goats and instead have a long and careful look to see what is helping to decimate many of our ground nesting birds? This might give a more accurate indication of what to cull and it would certainly not be goats! One wonders if there should not be far more thought about the long term effects before we interfere with nature - whether this be culling or indeed preserving a species - whether it is flora or fauna. Talking about birds, I was watching Countryfile this evening and people were researching bird behaviour. A feeder was set up to only allow access to small birds and when a few were at the feeder a dummy sparrow hawk was released on a wire to fly past the small birds and they wanted to analyse their

reaction. Surprise, surprise, the birds scattered - they then wanted to analyse what this meant. I think it meant that the wee birds had more savvy than they were credited with - no comment! We could show them this scenario in real life - without the dummies. Just recently evidence has been given to the European Commission from the world’s top marine scientists which makes no mention of a cod shortage, In fact the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas talks about an abundance of the species in the North Sea. Quota cuts which have been made by the European Commission to save cod from extinction could, it is reported, be actually harming the North Sea. It has certainly decimated the Scottish fishing fleet. Because the species is apparently so strong now - and top of the food chain, it is eating too many other fish. According to the scientists this is having an impact on haddock, herring and whiting numbers. An increasing number of sand eels, the staple diet of Scotland’s sea birds, are also being eaten. On the other hand there are those who maintain that it is the imposition of quotas that has allowed the cod to recover. Who knows - who is right? You may wonder why I have stayed so silent recently about the CAP negotiations. The reason is simply that there are so many balls in the air at this moment; it would be a brave man who would make the vaguest prediction! Hopefully in the New Year all will become clearer. Agricola 23

• The Villagers’ Contacts • Jill Johnston Editor Gardeners Cottage Balquhidder FK19 8PB 01877 384227

Gill Allan Production Manager Stronvar Farm Balquhidder Lochearnhead FK19 8PB 01877 384203

Alistair Barclay Photographer & Advertising Coordinator Dalvaich, Glenbeich Lochearnhead FK19 8PZ 01567 830453

Other Contacts...

Helen Clark Business Manager 07971 648743

Copy Deadline Day is the 21st of the month. Send your contributions to:

contac t@the Please help us to get The Villagers to you as soon as possible!


The Villagers’ Photographer

We e k l y A c t i v i t i e s Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Lochearnhead Contact: Ali Ferguson 01567 830 405 Strathyre Contact: Wullie Dalziel 01877 384 384 Mobile 07768 221661 St Fillans Contact: John Murray 01764 685 487 Mail Order Distribution: Hilda Astbury 01877 384 681

Bowling - St Fillans

BLS Lunch Club - Lochearnhead Scout Station - 12.30-2.30pm

Keep Fit - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.30 to11.30am Gaelic Playgroup - Balquhidder Hall - 10.30am to 12.30pm (Contact Abbey Arkotxa 01877 384671) Scottish Slimmers - Lochearnhead Village Hall - 7pm to 8pm Badminton - Balquhidder Hall - 8.00pm Country Dancing - St Fillans Yoga - Balquhidder Hall - 11.00am to 12noon (contact Ann Cobbett 01877 376291) Youth Club - Lochearnhead Hall - 7.00 to 9.00pm Metafit Classes - Strathyre Village Hall - 8.00pm Choir Occasional - Balquhidder Hall - 7.30pm to 9.00pm Playgroup - Lochearnhead Hall - 10.00am-12 noon. Mel Brydie 01877 384668 Ballroom Dancing - Lochearnhead Hall

Alistair Barclay is available to attend village functions and take photos if contacted in plenty of time. CDs of photos are also for sale. Please phone him on 01567 830453

See Page 8 for details of Christmas Services

DECEMBER 2013 5 7 10 15 19 24 25 31

Gardeners’ Question Time - Four Seasons Hotel, St Fillans at 7.00 pm Concert Balquhidder Church 7.30 - see p.8 SWT Talk Raptors Waverley Hotel Callander 7.30 - see p.22 Carol Concert Lochearnhead Hall 6pm - see p.3 Carols Round the Tree Strathyre - see p.4 Christmas Carol Service11pm Balquhidder 8pm Killin - see p.8 Christmas Day Communion Lochearnhead 10.30 - see p.8 Hogmany Dance Strathyre Hall 8pm - see p.9 Lochearnhead Hall Dance - see p.2

JANUARY 2014 1 14

Balquhidder Hall Dance P. 2 SWT Wildlife Policing in Nepal Waverley Hotel 7.30 - see p.22

Councillor Martin Earl Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET Mobile 07881 310 922

01786 443497

Councillor Alycia Hayes Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET 01786 443497

Mobile 07881 310 924

Councillor Fergus Wood Stirling Council, Old Viewforth, Stirling FK8 2ET Mobile 07824 496 019

01786 443497

CHURCH SERVICES Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St. Fillans CHURCH OF SCOTLAND

Balquhidder Parish Church Registered Charity No. SCO12316 Sunday 12 noon Minister: Rev John Lincoln The Manse, Killin Tel: 01567 820 247 Dundurn Church, St Fillans Sunday11.30am Minister: Rev Graham McWilliams Tel: 01764 671 045

ROMAN CATHOLIC Callander, St Joseph the Worker Sunday 11.30am Saturday Vigil Mass 5.30pm from May through to September Killin, in the Episcopal Church Sunday 2.30pm Father Jim McCruden 2 Ancaster Square, Callander Tel: 01877 330 702

SCOTTISH EPISCOPAL CHURCH St Angus’s Church, Lochearnhead First and third Sundays of the month: Holy Communion at 11.15am. Second and fourth Sundays of the month: Evensong at 6.00pm Fifth Sunday of the month: please see church noticeboard. Vestry Secretary - Mary Barclay Tel: 01567 830453


Thefts Unfortunately this month’s entry is again all about thefts! Unfortunately over the past month or so, we have been hit time and time again by persons who are clearly intent on causing nothing but misery in this area. Although we have not had any further residential housebreakings, we have had further thefts from within gardens and more recently vehicles and outhouses being broken into. The houses that were broken into appear to have been done by the same people and thankfully owing to the progress of forensic science, there are countless items currently undergoing analysis in the lab to try and identify those responsible. As I mentioned in last months column, we had positive lines of enquiry with jewellery being recovered and arrangements were then made to have this shown to the victims of the crimes. Unfortunately, not everyone was able to attend, and of those that did, no-one managed to pick out any of their property. Fingers crossed the lab will yield us some good results! I am fairly confident that the break-ins to the vehicles and the outhouses are being done by yet another “team” and are not linked to the first set of housebreakings. Attempts were made to break into several vans in Strathyre over the course of a weekend, and after their failed attempts, they came back during the week and gained access to a van within the village. Building materials were also taken from an isolated property in Strathyre. Owing to the items taken, a vehicle would have been required and probably more than the one person. During these times, there have been other thefts from vehicles in Callander, with garages and outhouses also being broken into. Unfortunately no-one has heard or seen anything – or so you’d think! From doing our enquiries, again we have been told of reports that in the days leading up to the break-ins, people have been seen acting suspiciously, taking photos of houses and someone even seen three hooded males running away from a house that had been broken into. The best part of all this information is not one person called the police. We are out 24hrs a day at the moment in an effort to catch those responsible and they will be brought to justice when we eventually catch up with them! We cannot do the job alone though and I urge you all to remain vigilant and call us with any information you may have AT THE TIME and not days later. I appreciate that sometimes people report they “don’t want to bother the police”; however I would rather go and do the enquiry than be at your door in the following days taking a report of another theft. Nothing is too much hassle and every call that we receive with regards to vehicles or persons acting suspiciously will be followed

up. If you are not in a position to make the call to us immediately, take a note of vehicle registration numbers and descriptions of the people. With the help of the community passing us information, we are in the best position to help the community from becoming victims of crime. Call us as soon as practical – 101 the number is as easy as that. Security I know I gave the same advice last month, but given the fact that we are still suffering it is prudent to give the same advice. First off, think like a thief! If you had the choice of a house that was well lit and looked “lived in” or one completely in darkness and clearly unoccupied, which would you chose? Given that we are now approaching winter and the hours of darkness is ever increasing, consider the lighting of your property, inside and out. Inside, leave lights on or leave a lamp on an electronic timer. Another good tip is to leave a radio or TV on when popping out and consider closing blinds and curtains also to make the house look like someone is in. How often would you sit in the house on a dark night with the curtains wide open? Consider taking a note of serial numbers of any expensive items of property in your house, and photographs are also a good idea. Outside, put up lighting all around the house, and consider the use of security lights with PIR sensors attached. Bushes and shrubs can also be cut back to aid visibility and reduce potential hiding places for thieves. Ensure all sheds and outhouses are locked at all times, even if working in the garden. If you leave doors open on sheds and garages, it lets everyone see what is inside and gives them the opportunity to plan a return visit! If you are going away for a few days, always consider leaving a key with a neighbour or friend/family member who will visit regularly, daily if possible. Do not allow mail to stack up behind doors. If it is possible, leave a car outside the house and whoever is checking the property can move the car if possible. Have good quality locks fitted to doors and windows and consider the use of an alarm. Some alarms will contact the police and we will attend along with a keyholder to ensure all is in order. This is not always the case so if you hear a house alarm sounding, think about phoning the police. Make sure you lock your vehicles at all times and remove the keys from the ignition. Do not leave vehicles unattended to defrost outside your house as they are liable to be stolen and your insurance will be void! Take any items of value out of the car, or if you have no choice, cover it with something to make it less obvious.

The most important piece of advice is being vigilant and keeping an eye out for your neighbors and the local community. Call the police immediately on 101 or 999 in an emergency, if you are at all concerned about the behavior of a person or vehicle. If in doubt, contact me or one of the other members of the Trossachs and Teith community team and we can arrange a free security survey and can provide the relevant advice to you. Poaching One of the specialist roles I carry out in the police is that of a wildlife crime officer. The role is very varied and busier than you may think. Up until this week, the limit of the role in this area has only extended to policing the lochs and dealing with fishermen over the summer season. This week however; I have been given information that could suggest that there is poaching taking place of deer in the area. Not many people would consider this to be a major issue for us given the number of thefts we currently have; however it is! It has been shown time and time again, that those involved in wildlife crimes are generally involved in other crimes. The issue of poaching can have a serious impact on the local farms and estates that rely on stalking as a source of income. My biggest concern is the manner in which the deer are taken. The persons responsible will do it in one of two ways. The first will be by using a firearm, which given the fact that they are poachers, will may be held illegally so gives us the problem of public safety. The weapons used often are not of high enough calibre and cause the animal to die a slow and painful death. The second way that they would take deer is by using dogs. Not only is this an incredibly barbaric “sport” but also causes issues with livestock being killed or injured. I have not yet found any evidence to prove the poaching is happening, but owing to information received in the Balquhidder area, there is every possibility. As such our “housebreaking” patrols will also assist with the stopping and searching of vehicles in the area. As always, I can always be contacted on 101 or for those who prefer email, I can be contacted directly at william.diamond@scotland.pnn. Regards, PC Will Diamond



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KP’s DIY & Builders Merchant KP’s would like to thank everyone for their support in 2013 and to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year New winter supplies now in Fire lighters, Kindling, Peat, Coal and Logs Rock Salt, Snow Shovels and Sledges Bird Food and Feeders Over 2013 KP’s has extended its product range so why not come along and see what’s new, or pick up a bargain or a few Christmas presents for the DIY enthusiast and Trades Person

Timber and Sheet materials Building Materials and Landscaping Electrical Wire, Fittings, Bulbs and Batteries Plumbing and Heating Painting and Decorating Fencing Materials for Garden and Farm Ironmongery, Nails and Fixings Gardening Tools, General Hand and Power tools ...and much, much more. Call and see for yourself! As a thank you for your support we are holding our

2-day Annual Sale

with 20% off everything in stock (subject to conditions)

23rd and 24th December 2013

opening times on the 23rd: 8am to 5.30pm and on the 24th: 8am to 3pm Christmas and New Year Opening Hours

We will close 24th December at 3pm and reopen on the 2nd January 2014 at 8am

Rob Roy Workshop, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead. 01877 384274 Email;

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Merry Christmas 2013, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans community news. Village Life, business, where to eat, where to sta...

Tvdecember2013 lo res  

Merry Christmas 2013, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, Strathyre and St Fillans community news. Village Life, business, where to eat, where to sta...